By Ralphine Major
Jeff and Orlena Knisley were parents to sixteen children, fourteen of whom survived into adulthood. I knew several of the Knisley siblings from my earliest memories at Fairview Baptist Church. They held leadership roles in many areas of the church.
Clifford Knisley worked in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He started the Royal Ambassador mission program for boys at Fairview; and his wife, Thelma, led the choir.
Sam Knisley taught school in Wartburg, Tennessee, and pastored several churches. He was married to Sallie who was our mother’s Sunday School teacher, taught in Vacation Bible School, and was active in the Women’s Missionary Union. Sam authored a book, “the Grace of God and Hard Work.”
Annalee Knisley Bales was the Director of the Children’s Primary Sunday School Department and active in VBS and WMU. Though soft spoken, she could easily control a roomful of energetic children! Her husband, Clarence, was a deacon.
Ben Knisley was married to Fern and served on the Cemetery Committee along with Clarence Bales.
Lester Knisley and his family lived at the homeplace. He was a teacher at Gibbs High School.
Luther Knisley, the oldest sibling, was a preacher and associational missionary in Abingdon, Virginia.
Jennie Knisley Hackney was a nurse at the former East Tennessee Chest Disease Hospital on Tazewell Pike.
Woodrow (Woody) Knisley retired from the United States Army as a Captain in Georgia before moving to a Tennessee residence on Tazewell Pike.
Lucy Knisley married Elmore Dunkle, who passed away at a young age. She remarried and became an Adams. Her son, Rev. Dan Dunkel (spelling of last name changed), passed away last year at age 96.
Roxie Knisley became a nurse, married a doctor, and settled in Idaho.
Dolly Knisley settled in Ohio.
Kitty Knisley Simpson and her husband were farmers in Illinois.
Margaret Knisley married and settled in Athens.
Stella Knisley Tipton and her husband farmed and attended Graveston Baptist Church in Corryton. Many of the Knisley siblings are buried at Fairview Baptist Church Cemetery.
Special thanks to Deloris Bales, Carroll Bales, and Dan Dunkel for their help with this column.